Do Employees Have Useful Information About Firms’ ESG Practices?

74 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2021 Last revised: 1 Apr 2024

See all articles by Hoa Briscoe-Tran

Hoa Briscoe-Tran

University of Alberta - School of Business

Date Written: February 8, 2024

Abstract

This study evaluates whether employees have useful information about firms' ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) practices. Analyzing 10 million employee reviews, it reveals that 43% of employees discuss ESG topics, with governance surprisingly receiving the most attention. Employees’ ESG inside view outperforms existing ESG ratings in predicting many hard-to-manipulate outcomes on all ESG categories, as well as valuation, downside risk, and stock return. In addition, the inside view appears robust to greenwashing, as low-cost changes in a firm’s ESG commitment do not affect it, while costlier changes do. Thus, incorporating employee perspectives can significantly enhance ESG investing for investors and rating agencies.

Keywords: ESG, CSR, greenwash, cheap talk, employees, NLP, Glassdoor

JEL Classification: G30, G34, M14, M40, D22

Suggested Citation

Briscoe-Tran, Hoa, Do Employees Have Useful Information About Firms’ ESG Practices? (February 8, 2024). Fisher College of Business Working Paper No. 2021-03-21, Charles A. Dice Working Paper No. 2021-21, European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper No. 907/2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3987291 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3987291

Hoa Briscoe-Tran (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - School of Business ( email )

2-43 Business Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2C7
Canada

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